I swung by my plot at the community garden this morning, and hung over the fence to gaze at it for a moment. (The gate is frozen solid into the ground, or I would have let myself in). Everything is still encrusted with a layer of snow – which, admittedly, has greatly receded with all the sunshine we’ve been having lately, and is nothing compared to what many storm-ravaged regions have experienced this winter.
I definitely want to direct-sow a bit earlier this year than I’ve done previously. I’m not going to wait until just the right ”planting weather” comes around (whenever/whatever THAT is). I’m planning to build a small hoop tunnel in a similar style as my plot neighbour. You can see a bit of his design in the foreground of the photo. It’s a tried-and-true system and many of you have probably set up something of the sort in your own gardens. Some plastic sheeting will give the plants a leg up early in the season, and then I can switch over to a row cover, which should deter the inevitable flea beetle problem. My neighbour actually further employed his row cover as a hail guard last year, and it worked surprisingly well – I expected the hailstones to punch through the fabric but his set-up withstood all of our wicked storms last summer. I’m all for salad greens that are not pre-mulched!
How do you extend the growing season in your garden? Do you use mini hoop tunnels or cloches? Do you have a greenhouse or a polytunnel or any other type of set-up?